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Two thousand turn out to keep Formentera landing 'where it's always been'

Formentera concentracio On SempreTwo thousand people packed the square in Sant Francesc Xavier de Formentera this morning to put a stop to plans to relocate the current Formentera-Eivissa ferry landing.

The gathering was organised by the Formentera Importa (Formentera Matters) residents' platform. Over the last month, el Consell d'Entitats, a group of business and community representatives that advises the Formentera Council on local issues, unanimously adopted a text urging dialogue with offices of the regional administration in an attempt to halt relocation plans. The Council later adopted the text in a one-off plenary held on Monday.

On Formentera, an island only accessible by boat and whose sole port of entry requires passage via Eivissa, siting the landing is an important issue. It is also one that has galvanised the political and social spheres of the island, who have roundly expressed their ire at the Balearic port authority's proposed plans. Not least infuriating, they say, are rumours the current landing will be reclassified as having a “social use”, a still murky distinction many see as a thinly-veiled attempt to turn the space over for use by luxury yachts.

All CiF councillors —from the ruling party and the opposition— were present at the demonstration. At the centrepiece of the lively gathering, punctuated by percussionists and traditional dance,

The lively gathering, which was punctuated by percussionists and traditional dance, saw

Punctuated by percussionists and traditional dance, the culmination of the lively gathering came when eight individuals lowered letters

In a lively event punctuated by percussionists and traditional dance performances, the centrepiece was when eight individuals lowered letters spelling on sempre (“where it's always been”) from the roof of the church to the applause of the crowd below.

Next week, Saturday April 23, another demonstration is planned that will unite the towns of la Savina and Sant Francesc Xavier.

For more info:
Contact Álvaro Mendoza, spokesman of Plataforma Formentera Importa: 678 90 97 55

Formentera advocates review of Dénia sea connection

Foto segona sessio debatToday Formentera Council held its second plenary session dedicated to discussing the state of the island. Attendees unanimously adopted a proposal from Gent per Formentera urging authorities “to review and possibly rework the terms” of the current Formentera-Dénia maritime connections “given their impact on Formentera's model of sustainability and safety,” explained transport councillor Rafael González. In the councillor's words, “as a summertime-only route, this a ship that doesn't carry any freight. While it doesn't deliver goods, it does come loaded with vehicles that bring our traffic to a standstill”. González pointed out the fact that Formentera is the only port without a “general interest” connection with the mainland, though he said he hoped the current vote would give Formentera leverage to improve the situation.

Renewable energy

With another proposal from Gent per Formentera, attendees voted unanimously to push the Council to “author a plan to progressively replace traditional power sources with renewable ones in Council buildings”. The initial process, said environment councillor Daisee Aguilera, will involve “singling out areas that can be improved” to later speed up the grant application process once money from the Govern becomes available. Furthermore, said Aguilera, the Council will also use its own budget –either directly or through secondary projects– to promote renewable energy sources.

To that end, all the parties at the session backed the PSOE's proposal envisaging “a joint effort by the Govern Balear and Formentera Council to make Formentera an energy independent island”.

Improvements to central government services

In addition, plenary attendees voted to urge the central government in Madrid to improve the services it administers on Formentera, “the priorities being the tax office, social security, the transportation department, passport and immigration services,” explained councillor of the president's office Bartomeu Escandell. That measure, brought forth by Gent per Formentera, was supported by all.

Another proposal that received unanimous support entails urging the administration “to adapt the conference hall of the Formentera day centre to host the Council's plenary sessions” and “make the associated technological improvements” as well. According to Escandell, the Magic Box, as the hall has been christened, “has got architectural features making it perfectly suitable for CiF plenary sessions.” For councillors it would also mean technological improvements, he said, as well as the possibility of live broadcasts of the sessions.

Political groups also unanimously adopted a measure brought by the Partido Popular to increase the frequency of public buses between la Mola and the rest of the island. Councillor González noted the Council's support for the proposed move but added that such an expansion of the public transport service should “be applied across the entire island”.

Improvements to urban enclaves

Representatives at the plenary also voted in unanimous support of a measure “for continued improvement projects in Sant Ferran, Es Pujols, Ses Bardetes, Es Ca Marí and la Savina.”

They also signed on to a proposal from the socialists to change the time extraordinary plenary sessions on the state of the island start. Participants voted to start such one-off meetings in the afternoon.


Also noteworthy was a unanimously-supported joint measure from Compromís amb Formentera and the socialist party. According to land management councillor Alejandra Ferrer, the proposal calls on the Council and the regional housing authority (IBAVI) to conduct a study on Formentera housing and work toward the establishment of a “social contract on housing”. Under the proposal, the study should “offer concrete solutions to the problems at hand.”

‘Formentera 2.0’ puts island at centre of IT buzz

foto presentació formentera 20In a press conference today, the Office of Tourism of the Formentera Council unveiled plans for the fourth Formentera 2.0, a series of conferences slated to take place May 5–8. The presentation was attended by Alejandra Ferrer, CiF tourism councillor, Carlos Bernús, head of the tourism advisory board and Rosa Castells, organiser of the event. The series, noted Ferrer, is part of a campaign dubbed Descobreix Formentera al maig (Discover Formentera in May), a push to attract tourists with special programming in the off-season. The councillor also talked about the potential of such an event to “put Formentera at the centre of the buzz surrounding information technologies and social media,” a possibility she hailed as “very good for tourism.”

According to organiser Rosa Castells, Formentera 2.0 has become a benchmark for IT-related events and includes high-calibre contributing speakers. Among the renowned speakers participating in talks this year are Salvatella founder Genís Roca; director of digital and social media at Iberdrola, Carlos Fernández Guerra; Gestmusic director Tinet Rubiera; director of digital marketing at Banco Santander, Sofia Mayoral; IT digital manager of FC Barcelona, Abraham Clotet; Naciódigital.cat director Karma Peiró; one of the founders of Vasava, Toni Sellés and Marketingdirecto.com director Javier Piedrahita.

Networking and experience-sharing

Also noteworthy, said Castells, are the high skill levels of participants, a factor that has allowed the conferences to become “places of experience-sharing and networking”. Over the 4-day course speakers and attendees will go in-depth on important subjects like digital transformation, social media and branded content, television, social networks and “360º creativity”.

Formentera 2.0 is sponsored by the Formentera Council and the Patronat de Turisme, the island’s tourism advisory board. Included in registration (€220) are entry to all associated events and discounted accommodation. For more information, contact www.esfreus.com

Updates can also be found at www.formentera20.com

Thousands of invasive caterpillar nests removed

Foto lluita processionaria premsaEarlier today the Office of Environment of the Formentera Council reported on the progress to date of efforts to control the spread of the processionary pine caterpillar, an invasive pest which has particularly affected the area of Es Cap de Barbaria. According to CiF environment councillor Daisee Aguilera, “approximately 12,000 caterpillar nests were removed in autumn and winter 2015-2016.” Aguilera lauded the efforts of outside workers contracted by the Council, volunteers and IBANAT staff, calling them an “instrumental part” of the response.

As Aguilera pointed out, of 12,000 nests removed, more than 4,000 were empty, 6,000 were full and 1,900 were destroyed by rifle shots. For normal nest removal the Council relied on two outside specialists, Govern Balear-employed staff of IBANAT and local volunteers and property owners. According to the councillor, the administration had the additional help of hunters in the Es Cap de Barbaria area, who were tasked with shooting down out of reach nests.

The goal behind the efforts is to stem the spread of the caterpillar in those areas where infestation is most pronounced. Officials have determined the hardest-hit area to be the former agritourism site in Es Cap de Barbaria, in the north northwest part of the island. Nevertheless, a recent study by the environmental office indicates the pest has turned up in places from la Mola to the Ses Salines national park.

The councillor said warm winter temperatures were the primary cause for the caterpillar’s continued spread. What is more, she announced that in the future the Council’s response would include more workers and an expanded area of focus. According to Aguilera, the Council will soon tap the appropriate arms of the Palma government to request a plan of action.

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